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Joseph Kahn audiorecordings of conversations with media personalities

Identifier: NS-02-06-01


Consists of 166 audiocassette tapes recording conversations between retired investigative journalist Joseph Kahn and reporters, editors, and other media personalities invited to his courses at the New School for Social Research between 1979 and the early 1990s. Participants include Pete Hamill, Nick Pileggi, Gay Talese, and Murray Kempton, among many others. Frequent guests include Sidney Zion, Liz Smith, and Jack O'Brien.


  • 1979-1990



3 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of 166 audiocassette tapes, with handwritten information on their cases identifying speakers and, usually, dates. In some cases, the name of the New School course is also identified. Examples of course titles include, "Great New York Interviewers," "New York Reporters: Behind the Bylines," "Great New York Columnists," "Great New York Critics and Their Targets," and "Famous Advice-Givers." For more information on these lectures, researchers should consult New School course catalogs in the Public Engagement series. Dates inscribed on cassettes do not always match information provided in the course catalogs.

The cassettes are organized numerically according to a system that was applied prior to their arrival in the New School Archives. At this time, the organizational principle behind their arrangement is unknown. To faciliate discovery, New School Archives staff organized the cassettes in the collection inventory in chronological order, without disturbing their physical order within their boxes.

A hand-written index card file comprised of participants names includes information about the date of the lecture, the course or panel title, fellow panelists, and the cassette number. Not all speakers are represented in the index.

Multiple speakers are featured on single tapes. Additionally, an interview conducted in one session may be recorded on multiple, non-consecutive tapes.

Box 1 contains cassettes numbered 1-82. Box 2 contains cassettes numbered 83-166.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use, but no access copies of these recordings are currently available, with a few exceptions. Researchers desiring access and willing to pay a digitization fee may do so upon consultation with The New School Archives. Please contact for further information.

Use Restrictions

To use recordings from this collection in a public setting and/or online, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Joseph “Joe” Kahn (1913?-1997) was a New York City-based newspaper journalist who, after retiring from a three decade career at the New York Post, taught journalism courses at the New School for Social Research in its continuing education division. Kahn attended the City College of New York, and began working at the New York Post in 1942. He became an intrepid investigative reporter, conducting undercover investigations and exposing abuses of the public trust. Notable stories Kahn broke included the withholding of contraceptives by city hospitals in the 1950s, persecution of gay men by the New York City Police Department in the 1960s, and municipal loan fraud in the 1970s. In 1959, Kahn and fellow Post reporter William Haddad received the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting from Long Island University after they exposed scandals in urban renewal projects, or “slum clearances.” According to Kahn, the New York Post in the mid-twentieth century was a bastion of “bleeding heart” journalism: “A poor, vulnerable person being subjected to abuse, be it in housing, hospital care, welfare or whatever, could go to the Post. There was nobody else to go to.”

Kahn retired from the New York Post in 1978, and the following year began teaching journalism, often offering one or two evening courses each semester. Kahn’s courses typically featured Kahn moderating discussions with guest speakers, who shared their perspectives on print, radio, and television journalism. Editors, interviewers, critics, reporters, commentators, and subject experts participated in Kahn’s classes, many as repeat visitors. The last semester that Kahn’s classes are listed in the New School's course catalogs is Fall 1992.

In addition to writing and moderating, Kahn studied painting at the National Academy of Design and served as a New York City Parks Department artist-in-residence.

Joseph Kahn died in December 1997. This Joseph Kahn should not be confused with another journalist named Joseph Kahn, who was born in 1964.


Berliner, Eve. “The Old Lion Remembered.” Eve’s Magazine.

Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.

Long Island University. George Polk Awards. Previous Award Winners:

New York Times. December 5, 1997. “Joseph Kahn, 84, Reporter for Post.”

Organization and Arrangement

Physical arrangement is numerical following an system assigned by previous custodian. Intellectual arrangement in finding aid collection inventory is chronological.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Sound quality is poor and will require significant clean up if reformatted.

Custodial History

Received from Lenore Kahn, Joseph Kahn's wife, by Michael Markowitz, director of the Institute for Retired Professionals, and transferred to the Raymond Fogelman Library of the New School for Social Research in approximately 1995.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Internal transfer from Raymond Fogelman Library to the New School Archives and Special Collections, 2013 (audiocassettes) and 2014 (card file).

Processing Information

Processed by Ari Spool, 2014.

  • Audiocassettes (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Editors (Occupation) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Interviewing (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Interviews (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Journalism (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Journalists (Occupation) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Press (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Guide to the Joseph Kahn audiorecordings of conversations with media personalities
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
January 13, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • July 14, 2017: New School Archives staff updated to reflect discovery of card index.
  • July 15, 2022: Jenny Swadosh added an Other Finding Aid note after digitized audio files uploaded to Digital Collections site.
  • July 26, 2022: Greta Goldbart re-arranged the collection inventory to intellectually place the recordings in chronological order. Jenny Swadosh updated the Scope and Content note and the Organization and Arrangement note to reflect this new arrangement.